Ms. Peters was born in Truro in 1884. Her father Antone was born in the Azores in 1849. He was given the name Peters when he came to Truro. He knew two boys from a neighboring village that had emigrated to Truro. While visiting that village to learn about how the boys were doing in America, he met their sister. She came to Truro four years later and married Antone. The people of Truro gave them furniture to set up housekeeping. He worked as a fisherman and would be gone for months. Their second child was five months old before he saw her. He gave up going to sea to work on fish weirs. Her father bought a house in 1894. She is living in that house. The house originally had a common kitchen and living quarters for two families. This was common when fishermen were at sea for long periods. The mothers of the two families would help each other and help care for children. When not weir fishing her father had a produce farm. Ms. Peters describes the chores of the children and her mother. Washing clothes would take all day. She recalled the time her mother and siblings were quarantined with scarlet fever and how her father would stop by each day and leave food and supplies at the door. Ms. Peters describes going to grammar school in Truro. School did not open until October because children were needed to help harvest cranberries. Her first summer job as a child was working on the assembly line at the Underwood Canning factory for 50 cents a day. The newly built Catholic Church (1895) was four miles away and the entire family would walk the distance. Others along the way would join in the group and by the time they reached the town there would be “quite a procession.” Holidays were busy times preparing food and hanging stockings. She tells a humorous story about her 16 year old cousin waiting for Santa Claus to appear. Ms. Peters had to convince her father that it was a good idea to send her to Provincetown high school. She needed money for transportation and room and board during the school week. She was given two dollars a week for room and board, 25 cents spending money and 17 cents for the train ride home each weekend. She graduated and then went to the Hyannis Normal school for two years and came back to Truro to teach in the same grammar school she went to. She also taught in West Barnstable and several other schools off cape. Upon retirement she moved back to Truro and worked for the Chamber of Commerce for 15 years. She has been asked to help dedicate the new Chamber of Commerce building in the Spring of 1978.
The Tales of Cape Cod Oral History Collection is housed at the William Brewster Nickerson Archives in the Wilkens Library at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, Massachusetts. For more information about the collection, please contact the Nickerson Archives, http://www.nickersonarchives.org/.
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